It’s hard to put a dollar value on a dead sea turtle. Impossible, actually. Estimates of royalties owed to the US taxpayer for the lost oil amount to around $35 million. Chump change. Lurking somewhere offstage is the specter of a liability cap. Seventy-five million dollars per oil spill? Still chump change.
The Deepwater Horizon accident will cause billions of dollars of damage and have incalculable effects on planetary systems. The reflectivity of massive oil slicks will shift the planetary albedo. The ecology of the Caribbean may be permanently altered. The economy of the gulf coast will take a hit as seafood supplies vanish and snowbirds take a pass on their winter trip to the redneck Riviera.
It all adds up.
BP management has assured us that they’ll ignore statutory caps on liabilities and pay all claims. BP shareholders have not been heard from on the matter of their management’s largesse. The best guess is that the shareholders will force management to an about face on any generous gestures made during this time of crisis. The legal beagles at 1 St. James Square are even now digging in for a protracted battle to protect their shareholders’ asses and assets. The Attorney General of the United States owes it to the world to freeze the assets of BP and any rogue corporation that ignores environmental and safety regulations in pursuit of profit.
Freeze their assets now. Seize them later when the total amount of damages is settled.